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Population and Density

By Scott Sumner | May 18 2024
Chicago’s population is down about 25% from its peak back in 1950. That statement might conjure up images of empty blocks of homes, as you see in Detroit. In fact, Chicago remains quite crowded. I cannot find the article, but I recall reading that Chicago now has more households than ever before. Average household size ...

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The Actual “Great Replacement”

By Scott Sumner | May 16 2024

Some people on the right worry that immigration will cause America’s white population to be largely replaced by non-whites.  This hypothesis is sometimes referred to as “The Great Replacement”.  There is a great replacement occurring, but these worriers have things exactly backwards.  (As an aside, this post will not examine the pros and cons of .. MORE

Featured Comment

How did economists get such a big experiment wrong? Some were simply too optimistic about economies of scale relative to the agency problem. Even in a "market economy" with significant economies of scale, a potential..

Knut P. Heen, May 21

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Business Economics

Tom Hazlett on the TikTok Ban

By David Henderson | May 22, 2024 | 0

In my view, the best writer on economics today is Tom Hazlett. He has a way with words. And good writing necessarily requires good thinking. Tom recently had a recent post on the TikTok ban that was so good that I didn’t want to post it as one of many in Sunday my weekly reading .. MORE


Fear of Financial Instability

By Scott Sumner | May 22, 2024 | 4

The consensus view is that the Great Recession of 2008-09 was caused by financial instability. I believe that view is wrong, and wrote an entire book arguing that it was tight money that caused the Great Recession. A recent Bloomberg article perfectly illustrates why it’s important to understand what went wrong in 2008: The FSOC .. MORE

Economic and Political Philosophy

What Do They Think Politics Is?

By Pierre Lemieux | May 22, 2024 | 11

A strange story echoed in Newsweek suggests that many people have not reflected on how democratic politics works, or perhaps they confuse politics as they wish it should be with what it actually is. The magazine writes (“Donald Trump Threatened With New Investigation,” May 11, 2024): Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, has threatened .. MORE

Economics and Culture

A Gaming Journalist Discovers Spontaneous Order

By Kevin Corcoran | May 21, 2024 | 1

Spontaneous order is one of those ideas you can find in all areas of life once you understand it. But equally interesting is witnessing people noticing the phenomenon who have never studied the subject but find examples of it in seemingly obscure domains. I found an example of a video game reviewer and journalist noticing .. MORE

Free Markets

Problems with Progressivism and Populism

By Scott Sumner | May 20, 2024 | 23

Over time, ideologies can evolve in unforeseen ways. Consider the following four public policy developments: 1. The Biden administration has attempted to forgive many student loans for college education.2. Several cities in California have imposed rent controls.3. Florida recently banned lab grown meat.4. North Carolina is attempting to ban mask wearing in public. While the .. MORE

Economic and Political Philosophy

Are You a Product?

By Pierre Lemieux | May 19, 2024 | 14

We should be careful about words, expressions, and catchphrases, especially those political hyperboles that buttress the statist zeitgeist of our time. You are a product of greedy corporations. The author of the May 16 Economist newsletter “The World in Brief” says it in passing: Walmart’s ad operation is much smaller than that of Amazon, which .. MORE

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Book Club

Energy, Environment, Resources

My Weekly Reading for May 19, 2024 4

Brickbat: Robot’s Day of Rest by Charles Oliver, Reason, May 10, 2024. Excerpt: A German court has ruled that the robots at the Tegut supermarket chain must be given Sundays off, just like human workers. Under German law, retail stores must close on Sundays and Christian holidays in order to give employees a day of rest. Tegut .. MORE

Adam Smith

Professor Hugh H. Macaulay: A Tribute on His Centennial 3

Click-a-ty-clack, click-a-ty-clack . . ., click-a-ty-clack.    Those were the sounds that regularly echoed down the second-floor hallway of Clemson University’s Sirrine Hall in the 1980s and before. Those sounds of metal-on-metal could be expected by the economists on the floor at 10:00 in the morning, carrying a clear message: “Time for coffee!”  The sounds .. MORE

Austrian Economics

My Life as an Austrian Economist: My Philosophical Vision and the Critique of Scientism 7

As with any tale, it is useful to begin at the beginning.  And in my instance, all my beginnings related to Austrian economics are found at Grove City College.  How I ended up at Grove City is an extremely unlikely journey with zigs and zags, the probability of which defies all calculation.  I was not .. MORE

Book Reviews and Suggested Readings

Mir McLuhanism

By Arnold Kling

… digital media not only enhance information exchange and render offline life obsolete—they also reverse literacy and retrieve orality. … This book is about orality, which once was obsolesced by writing, and about literacy, which is now becoming obsolesced by digital media. —Andrey Mir, Digital Future in the Rearview Mirror: Jaspers’ Axial Age and Logan’s .. MORE

Camping-Trip Economics vs. Woolen-Coat Economics

By Arnold Kling

“A camping trip is, in fact, the opposite of an economic setting. The camping-trip setting is one of high endowment, low improvement.” I believe there is a basic misrepresentation pervading economics, starting with introductory textbooks and permeating even the most advanced topics in microeconomics and macroeconomics. Economic education gets off on the wrong foot by .. MORE

Don Lavoie on the Continuing Relevance of the Knowledge Problem

By Cory Massimino

It was Don Lavoie, not Friedrich Hayek, who coined the term “knowledge problem” in his seminal 1985 National Economic Planning: What Is Left?1 (itself a more accessible and policy-focused distillation of Lavoie’s thesis, under Israel Kirzner, entitled Rivalry and Central Planning: The Socialist Calculation Debate Reconsidered). Lavoie reformulated and clarified the knowledge problem as developed .. MORE

Work, Wages, and Capitalism

By Stephen Davies

A Book Review of The Story of Work: A New History of Humankind, by Jan Lucassen.1 As the subtitle suggests, Jan Lucassen’s massive work of scholarship is ambitious in scope and scale. The entire sweep of human history and the whole of the planet are its canvas and the story it tells and the analysis .. MORE